Posts Tagged ‘yeast’
1 gallon cold water
1 lb. white sugar
1/2 oz. race ginger
1 lemon, sliced
1 tea-cup homemade yeast (1 packet dry or 1 cake moist commercial yeast.)
1 gallon cold water, 1 lb. white sugar, 1/2 oz. race ginger, 1 sliced lemon, 1 tea-cup yeast. Let it stand all night to ferment; then pour it off without stirring, bottle it, and add 1 raisin to each bottle.
From The Economical Cook-Book by Elizabeth Nicholson, 1865.
Comment: Yes, unlike the modern product known as ginger beer or its relative ginger ale, this would seem to be genuine beer, as evidenced by the call for the addition of yeast. How alcoholic it would be is another question, since it ferments for only one night. Further fermentation might take place in the bottle, but that would seem unlikely to up the proof content by very much since the direction “do not stir” would leave the majority of the yeast behind. The intent may have been to just make the drink fizzy rather than to give it a kick.
Homemade beers of this sort were extremely common and consumed by everyone, including children. The usual explanation for this is that the water of the time was so polluted as to be a common source of disease, and therefore beer or wine, being made with boiled water or heated at some point in the process, was safer despite any alcohol content. This recipe however does not call for any heating at all. We admit to puzzlement. Perhaps it just tasted good.
1 and 1/2 pint milk
1/4 pint homemade yeast (2-3 packets or cubes commercial yeast)
6 oz. butter
Take a pint and a half of milk quite warm, and a quarter of a pint of thick small-beer yeast; mix them well together in a pan with sufficient flour to make a thick batter; let it stand in a warm place covered over until it has risen as high as it will; rub six ounces of butter into some flour till it is quite fine; then break three eggs into your pan with the flour and butter; mix them well together; then add sufficient flour to make it into a dough, and let it stand a quarter of an hour; then work it up again, and break it into pieces about the size of an egg, or larger, as you may fancy; roll them round and smooth with your hand, and put them on tins, and let them stand covered over with a light piece of flannel. [Bake]
From The Cook’s Oracle by William Kitchiner, MD, New York, 1829
Comment: Translating recipes for yeast breads is always difficult because the quantities given are for “homemade” yeast which is nowadays used primarily by those who make their own sourdough products.
In the 19th century a pot of live yeast starter sat in every kitchen, carefully located closer or farther from the heat source as the season dictated to keep it from either freezing or dying of over-heating. It was removed by the tablespoon, cup or pint-full to make the amount of bread needed by the household on a daily basis. The amount removed was replaced with an equivalent amount of flour and water, and the remaining yeast creatures would spread through that until the next day’s baking time rolled around.
If that yeast “wore out” or was lost in some fashion it was necessary to make a trip to the local tavern or other beermaking emporium and buy or beg a resupply from their stock. This was considered a great disgrace, the mark of a slovenly housekeeper, if the yeast was lost to anything less than a house fire.
1 quart buckwheat flour
4 tbs. homemade yeast (1-2 packets or cakes commercial yeast)
1 tsp. salt
1 handful Indian [corn] meal
2 tbs. molasses-not syrup
[Add] warm water enough to make a thin batter. Beat very well and set to rise in a warm place. If the batter is in the least sour in the morning, stir in a very little soda dissolved in hot water.
Mix in an earthen crock, and leave some in the bottom each morning–a cupful or two–to serve as sponge for the next night, instead of getting fresh yeast. In cold weather this plan can be successfully pursued for a week or ten days without setting a new supply. Of course you add the usual quantity of flour, &c., every night, and beat up well.
Do not make your cakes too small. Buckwheats should be of generous size. Some put two-thirds buckwheat, one third oat-meal, omitting the Indian.
Common Sense in the Household by Marion Harland, New York, 1871
Comment: Buckwheat has always been a sort of poor relation in the cooking world. It is not only no relation to a male deer but not any sort of kinfolk to wheat, either–and to go for a clean sweep it is not, botanically speaking, even a grain at all. Here the buckwheat is treated the same as, and probably stored in a crock next to, the home’s yeast supply. When prepared as directed it would be ready to go on the stove as soon as the cook was up, dressed, had the fire in the stove started and built up to the proper stage, had gone out to the smokehouse for meat and the chicken coop for eggs–and if you had to do all that every morning you would appreciate any slightest bit of time-saving convenience too.